MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday has denied anew that it has approved plans for the construction of the Nickelodeon theme park in Coron, Palawan, noting that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local government of Palawan are in charge of giving the plan its approval.
“The primary agencies to determine this are the DENR and the Palawan local governments, and we will defer to their assessment,” Tourism Sec. Wanda Teo said in a statement.
Teo assured the Haribon Foundation and other environmental groups that the protection and enhancement of the environment will always be its main concern.
She also clarified that her initial positive response on the plan of a proposed Nickelodeon theme park was to encourage investment in new Philippine tourism projects.
Moreover, she stressed that this did not mean that she was throwing her support behind the project.
“We must see first if the project proponents can make good on their assurance to us that their project will not damage the environment, and that this will have a strong positive impact on the people of Palawan,” Teo said.
Teo further assured environmental groups of the DOT’s full support for tourism projects designed to protect and enhance the environment.
“We are supportive of new tourism projects that would make the Philippines more attractive to foreign tourists and provide new rest and recreation havens for Filipinos. But these new projects, and even our existing tourism spots should be havens as well for all living creatures. And the natural beauty that attracts visitors in the first place should always be preserved,” Teo said.
Puerto Princesa Governor Jose Alvarez previously shrugged off plans to build a theme park in Coron.
“Forget what Nickelodeon is saying because they are just teasing your imagination. There is no such plan. There is no application. And besides they will not be allowed to construct underwater. Is it very clear?” Alvarez said.